Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

An afternoon on a Minnesota peony farm & winery June 8, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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An overview of one of the gardens at Aspelund Peony Gardens, located at 9204 425th Street, rural Kenyon (near Aspelund).


WE WERE ON OUR WAY to do some shopping last Sunday afternoon when Randy mentioned a radio ad for Aspelund Peony Gardens.


A view from Minnesota State Highway 60 on the way to the peony gardens and winery.


That’s all it took to turn the van around, make a brief stop back home for a Minnesota road atlas and bottled water, and then head east on State Highway 60 rather than south on the interstate. I will choose touring flower gardens any day over shopping.


Nearing Aspelund.




Now marks prime peony viewing time at the Goodhue County gardens of Bruce and Dawn Rohl. I first met the engaging couple two years ago at their rural Kenyon (northwest of Wanamingo) acreage, also home to Aspelund Winery. They are a delight, the type of neighborly folks who hold a passion for peonies and wine in addition to full-time off-the-farm jobs.







Both visits I felt comfortably at home, welcome to stroll the gardens and the oak-shaded grounds where the wind sweeps across the hilltop location. I feel as if I’m a world away from reality in this peaceful setting of natural beauty and farm field vistas. Dogs play. A cat roams. A tire swing sways.





As I walked through the freshly-tilled rows of peonies, I stopped many times to dip my nose into fragrant blossoms, to study the lush (mostly) shades of pink petals, to photograph the flowers that danced a steady rhythm in the wind.



There is something endearing and connective and romantic in meandering through a peony garden. The spring flower reminds me of long ago brides gathering blooms from their mother’s/grandmother’s gardens. Young love. Sweet. Poetic.



It’s been a good year for peonies at Aspelund Peony Gardens, according to Dawn. Perfect weather conditions burst the bushes with an abundance of blossoms.




Lilacs, not quite in bloom, are also found on the farm site.


At an open house from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday (June 9/10), visitors can peruse those peonies, choose favorites and select roots available in the fall. The Rohls sell 65 types of peonies and are currently growing 150 varieties.


The vineyard.


Additionally, they craft wine—from apples, rhubarb, grapes, elderberries, raspberries, cucumbers and more. High Country Spice, made from tomatoes grown on-site, is probably their most unusual wine, one that I loved. Peppered, made from bell peppers, debuts this autumn.


The small wine tasting room on the right is connected to the Rohls’ home.



Towering oaks populate the farm yard, although many were damaged and some destroyed during a downburst in 2017.


After touring the peony gardens, a sampling of wines or a glass of wine—sipped inside or on the spacious deck—caps a lovely afternoon in the Minnesota countryside.


Aspelund Peony Gardens and Winery are located about five miles from Wanamingo.


There’s a sense of neighborliness here, even among guests. Like the couple we met from Skunk Hollow after we’d discussed the differences between hotdish and casseroles with the Rohls. It is all so quintessential Minnesotan, and, oh, so much better than shopping.



FYI: Plan a visit to Aspelund Peony Gardens during this weekend’s open house which will feature a KOWZ 100.9 FM radio personality on-site on Saturday along with a food truck. Peonies may continue to bloom through Father’s Day, but there’s no assurance of that.

The winery is open from noon – 5 p.m. weekends only. Just like the gardens, open Saturdays and Sundays only.

Click here to read my 2016 post on Aspelund Peony Gardens and Winery.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


20 Responses to “An afternoon on a Minnesota peony farm & winery”

  1. Loving your photos – what a great place to explore as well as take in a tasting 🙂 Happy Day – Enjoy!

  2. Murphy's Law Says:

    I just love peonies. The ants they attract not so much! 😄 How the owners manage to keep their farm so pristine while working full time off the farm is mind-boggling! You and your camera must’ve been doing the happy dance!

    The beautiful cat and dog, not to mention the beautiful girl on the swing, make it seem like you were visiting family or close friends.

    This was a great detour from shopping Audrey!!
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

  3. Beautiful! Amazing photos Audrey ❤

  4. treadlemusic Says:

    OK……as much as I love beautiful flowers that have been cultivated by someone else….you had me with that bottle of rhubarb wine!!!! (but you really aren’t surprised, hmmmm??)………

  5. valeriebollinger Says:

    Awesome photos Audrey. I hope to get there for the open house sometime this weekend. I heard of a peony garden a couple hours away so I’m happy to learn of this one close by.

  6. Jackie Says:

    Sounds like a fun stop, I have never heard of this place. The flowers are so pretty and the rhubarb wine makes me want to like wine, Ha ha

  7. Bella Says:

    My oh my your photos of the flowers/gardens are just stunning what a lovely diversion for the day

  8. […] It was difficult to take photos with the peonies swaying in the wind. There are great photos on Minnesota Prairie Roots blog where I learned about this farm. Click here. […]

  9. Dawn Says:

    Thank you Audrey! We so enjoyed seeing you and Randy! Others have come because of your blog and we appreciate that. We are still blooming, so Father’s Day weekend will look nice too! Have a wonderful summer. Look forward to reading about your adventures!

  10. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    I really appreciate your garden posts. I can see the flowers without the side effects. That kitty is pretty

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